Policy ForumConservation

Economic Importance of Bats in Agriculture

Science  01 Apr 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6025, pp. 41-42
DOI: 10.1126/science.1201366

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Summary

White-nose syndrome (WNS) and the increased development of wind-power facilities are threatening populations of insectivorous bats in North America. Bats are voracious predators of nocturnal insects, including many crop and forest pests. We present here analyses suggesting that loss of bats in North America could lead to agricultural losses estimated at more than $3.7 billion/year. Urgent efforts are needed to educate the public and policy-makers about the ecological and economic importance of insectivorous bats and to provide practical conservation solutions.